“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Phil. 3:20-21
A few weeks ago, our pastor, Dr. Trent Langhofer, encouraged us to pause for a moment and think about our “happy place”. He described his as being in his backyard pushing his children on their swingset and enjoying the laughter of their little voices and the contentment of being with them and his beautiful wife. I, too, thought of my happy place as being with my family. I thought of my husband, Jase, and I at home in our living room listening to our three musically gifted children singing while they played the piano and guitar. I honestly could sit all day watching and listening to them work together to explore the world of music. No phones, no television. Just us.
I got another glimpse of a “happy place” when Jase and I had two romantic nights and a glorious day at Pebble Beach in Monterey, California. We were blessed enough to enjoy this experience together, just the two of us, before starting a whirlwind of a media tour surrounding my new book “Blessed Blessed…Blessed”. Playing at the famous Pebble Beach golf course was a dream of Jase’s, and I happily accompanied him on this adventure. To say the views surrounding each hole were breathtaking is definitely an understatement. The cliffs, waves, and lush greens of this landscape validated every aspect as to why this golf course is sought after by the world’s most talented golfers. Being able to witness and experience these sights and sounds as well as walk the famous 18th hole with my husband as he soaked in his own experience will unquestionably be one of the fondest memories I will hold of our relationship.
The reason Trent urged us to think of this “happy place” was to remind us that this world is not our home. As many wonderful experiences we have on this earth, we should be longing to be in heaven with our Father and Savior Jesus Christ. He asked us to think hard about where we would truly rather be. Psalm 84:10 says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” I believe that you have to grow in your faith as you experience life’s circumstances in order to long to be with your Savior. This life can be hard, punishing and detrimental at times.
Our daughter, Mia, who was born with a cleft lip and a cleft palate, has been surrounded by doctors, surgeries, medical devices and riveting physical challenges since the moment she was born. She has known no other life. Yet, she has chosen to roll with these punches every step of the way. I, on the other hand, as her mom, find it difficult to deal with the heartache of watching my daughter in so much pain, swelling, and disappointment when it comes to her sacrificing the things she loves to do. However, these circumstances have made me search for God even more than I did before she was born. They make me long for Him. They make me want to be with Him in heaven. I didn’t realize just how much I longed for Him until Trent challenged us in this way. He asked us to dig down deep and be honest with ourselves. Would we rather spend one day with Him where there is no heartache, no pain, no disappointment, but rather complete healing, acceptance and love than a thousand days in our “happy place” here on earth? Yes! My answer was “Yes”! I long for that place where my daughter will be done with pain, done with surgeries, done with sacrifice. I long for new bodies for both Mia and me. I long to be complete with my Savior, who gave up everything for me because he loves me that much.
But while I long to be with Him in heaven, I must also realize that He has entrusted me here on this earth to do His work. I can’t give up. Paul also says later in Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” God wants us to need Him and rely on Him. He also gives us such joy in things like our “happy places”. What an incredible creation Pebble Beach is! What an incredible creation family is! Thank you, Lord, for our “happy places”. And thank you, Lord, for heaven.
(Previously submitted to Lifeway.com)